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4th National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

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Kathy Greenlee

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness DayWritten by Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary, HHS Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

When Americans think about HIV, the face they imagine isn’t that of a person who has lived over half a century and beyond.  Yet, in 2009, people aged 50 and older accounted for 17% of new HIV diagnoses in 40 states with long-term confidential name-based reporting. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first reported cases of AIDS in the United States.

Today, more than ever, HIV prevention and treatment are important issues to older Americans.  September 18, 2011 marks the 4th annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day Exit Disclaimer. This special day provides us all with the opportunity to focus on the many challenges related to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment facing our aging population.

“Aging is a part of life; HIV doesn’t have to be,” the theme for this year’s National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, reminds us that there is more we can do to make older Americans aware of HIV prevention and testing.

Medicare now covers HIV screening for people with Medicare of any age who ask for the test.  Aging services providers and HIV care providers must work together to educate older Americans about the testing and prevention of HIV as well as to ensure that the special needs of the older men and women living with HIV can be effectively addressed in a collaborative fashion. The Administration on Aging has a webpage dedicated to Older Adults and HIV; next month we will be releasing an HIV and aging educational toolkit and video.

Please join the Administration on Aging, and our network of community-based aging services providers, in recognizing National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day.  Throughout the year, help spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of HIV prevention, testing and treatment for older adults.  A few suggestions include:  organize a public forum or town hall meeting to discuss the impact of HIV/AIDS in the senior community; ask your community leaders to issue a proclamation recognizing the Awareness Day; request radio stations to air public service announcements; and encourage leaders in the community to participate in local, regional, or national events on or around NHAAAD.

Comments

  1. JAMES MWESIGWA says:

    we wish you a good National HIV/AIDS Day

  2. The national concern about the elderly population on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention is most welcomed, encouraged, and supported at all levels of social strata. In Indian Country, federal agencies such as Office of Women’ Health and SAMSHA have been most supportive in providing direct funding to Tribal Colleges such as Navajo Technical College. Since 2006, these agencies, in addition to the State of New Mexico; have provide varying support in educating people of all ages about HIV/AIDS/STD. Our tribal college has provided, and will continue to provide health information including HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, testing, and collaboration with others to address the collective effort to eradicate the disease. Our Project, which ends on September 30, 2011; will provide a sustainability plan to continue to battle the disease by education everyone with the help of all. Our Project utililzes the wisdom of our elderly leader and teachers in reaching everyone; from the home to formal learning institutions. The elder people command respect and dignity and they are most supportive in teaching young about about how valuable and precious life is. In the Navajo teaching; the holistic person learning developing in a spiritual way is the road to self-actualization and longevity.

    Thank you for providing opportunity to comment.

    Dr. Lawrence Isaac, Jr, Ph.D.

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